Don’t miss these great skin-related tips and tricks for taking care of your little ones from CT Derm expert, Elizabeth Gaines!
Taking on diaper rash. Diaper dermatitis (rash) is a common skin condition. Moisture, irritation from urine and feces, and rubbing from the diaper can all cause skin breakdown. Once it develops, it can be a painful process to fix. Using a combination of barrier cream (Aquaphor, Desitin, or A+D ointment), 1% hydrocortisone cream, and over-the-counter athletes foot cream applied liberally to the affected area every 2 hours can speed the healing process. Importantly diapers should be changed every 2 hours by the clock, and baby wipes should only be used for feces. Even the most gentle, sensitive skin wipes can irritate baby’s skin.
Keeping your child sun safe. Sun safety should start with a child’s first sun exposure. Make sure to use a zinc or titanium-based sunscreen. These physical sunscreens are the most effective blockers of harmful UV rays. They are also most gentle on sensitive skin. The trade-off is that they can be sticky and hard to use (read: there are few zinc or titanium-based spray sunscreens). Be sure to read the labels of your sunscreens. Even sunscreens that are marketed for children can have chemical sunscreens in them. To best protect your child, avoid peak sun hours (from 10a-2p), reapply sunscreen liberally every 2 hours or after water exposure, and invest in sun protective clothing.
We need to reschedule our playdate. Some childhood rashes are highly contagious. The most common is probably impetigo, a superficial bacterial infection that looks like oozy yellow crust on open sores in the skin. This can sometimes look like blisters too. This is a harmless condition and resolves quickly with appropriate treatment, but it is highly contagious. Molluscum contagiosum is another one to be on alert for. This rash looks like small pink to white bumps on the skin, oftentimes accompanied by an itchy eczema-like rash. This one is also harmless but can be harder to treat. Affected areas should be covered as best as possible to prevent spread. Both of these rashes are spread by skin to skin contact… something young children are good at doing!
Common pediatric skin conditions that you can start to treat at home. Two of the most common things dermatologist treat are common warts and acne. Warts are caused by a virus that is commonly found in public places, such as gymnasiums and swimming pools. As children grow, their immune systems grow too, resulting in immunity against this common virus. Warts on the soles of feet, palms of hands, and around nail beds tend to be most stubborn. Starting treatment at home is important to prevent growth and spread. Using duct tape overnight on warts can help to irritate and soften them, making it easier for healthcare providers to get rid of them. Over-the-counter salicylic acid preparations, when used consistently, can often speed up resolution of warts, in conjunction with in-office treatments such as liquid nitrogen and canthacur. Acne typically occurs around puberty but can be seen 1-2 years before puberty as well. Over-the-counter ingredients that can help acne are 2% salicylic acid or 3-5% benzoyl peroxide washes and adapalene 0.1 gel at bedtime. Higher concentrations of benzoyl peroxide are best reserved for spot treatments or use on the body. If using these products for several weeks (usually 4-6) doesn’t produce improvement/clearance, then seeking help from a dermatologist is suggested. Be aware that all OTC acne preparations can be drying and irritating, so using them sparingly to start makes them most well tolerated.
When should my kids start getting their moles evaluated? There are certain circumstances where children should have their moles looked at by a dermatologist. If a mole is very large, growing/changing quickly or has become symptomatic (itches, bleeds), it should be evaluated immediately. Additionally, it is normal for kids to have 10-20 moles by the time they reach adulthood. If your child has 50 or more moles, they should be seen by a professional. Lastly, if any first-degree relatives (mom, dad, or siblings) have a history of melanoma, children should be seen annually for full body skin cancer screenings. When to worry… Most rashes in young children are completely normal. However, there are a few important symptoms that you should be on the lookout for. A rash with fever can be from a harmless virus. However, if the fever is high (usually over 102) and persistent (more than a few days), contact your health care provider. Systemic symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, malaise, joint pain (to name a few) should also send up a red flag and you should contact your doctor immediately. Urticaria (or hives) is common in children who are continuously trying new foods, new topical creams, new antibiotics. Urticaria accompanied by lip swelling, difficulty chewing or swallowing, or trouble breathing should warrant immediate medical attention. The Connecticut Dermatology Group PC. Is the largest comprehensive Dermatology Practice in Connecticut with offices in Milford, Norwalk, Stamford, and Greenwich. CDG offers the full spectrum of medical, surgical, pediatric, and cosmetic dermatology including Mohs micrographic surgery, skin cancer screenings, on site dermatopathology, a phototherapy treatment center, 5 lasers to treat a wide array of cosmetic and medical concerns, non-invasive body contouring, and our own CDG line of skin care products developed by our staff physicians.
We accept all major insurance and are open Monday-Friday 8-4. You can schedule your appointment by calling 203-810-4151. www.ctdermgroup.com